A little spring cleaning led to a big mystery for a Hartford woman, who found someone's cremated remains in a closet, Fox CT reports. Now, she's on a mission to reunite the 10-year-old remains with whichever family they might belong to.
"Oh my god, what am I going to do with this?" That was Carmen Zayas' first reaction when she spotted a black box while clearing out a closet inside an old apartment converted to office space back in August.
"It was in the corner. I reached for it, I took it down and I placed it on this cabinet," said Zayas.
The box was sealed shut, but a label said that remains (or "cremains," as they're often called) of a woman named Tyeshia Flowers were inside.
"I felt like it was just kind of giving me a sign or something, I can't explain it, it was just ... different," said Zayas.
After hitting up Google and searching for the name, Carmen came up with a 2003 obituary from the Hartford Courant that was just one line long.
It said: "Tyeshia M. Flowers died Friday October 25th 2003 at St. Francis Hospital at the age of 26."
This Saturday marks exactly 11 years since her death.
The obituary went on to list the Clark, Bell & Bell Funeral home as the site of her visitation, so Zayas called the funeral home and crematory in Waterbury, hoping for answers.
"It kind of bugged me like 'oh my god there's a family member out there that's probably hoping and wishing they had this – probably thought they lost it or misplaced it and here it is in my closet," said Zayas.
The Clark, Bell & Bell Funeral home is now under new ownership as Howard K. Hill Funeral Services. The staff was able to pull up an archived file after Zayas contacted them.
They placed phone calls and even sent a letter to the last known family members of Ms. Flowers.
Unfortunately, they did not receive a response.
Meanwhile, the crematory told Carmen they had no information about Tyeshia Flowers whatsoever.
"I left it alone for a while but it kind of like haunted me, so I decided to call you guys and see if we can take it a step further," said Zayas.
Fox CT talked to funeral home staff who confirmed they've yet to hear back from the relative they contacted in Maryland. Fox CT also checked online public records and no relatives were listed there.
Their crew did take a trip to Flowers' last known address in East Hartford and visited a friend's place listed in Hartford, but neither led to results.
Flowers doesn't even show up in a search of MySpace, the popular social networking site of 2003.
While it may be a long shot, Carmen is just hoping someone sees Tyeshia Flowers' name on the news, and comes forward to link the cremains with one of her relatives.
"I would want someone to return me to a family member or friend if I was left behind or if someone found my ashes," said Zayas.
If you have any information about Tyeshia Flowers, contact Fox CT reporter Beau Berman.